Alfred William Paul (Champ) BELL


BELL, Alfred William Paul

Service Number: VX79445
Enlisted: 24 April 1942
Last Rank: Lance Corporal
Last Unit: 2nd/5th Cavalry Commando Squadron
Born: Shepparton, Victoria, 12 April 1914
Home Town: Shepparton, Greater Shepparton, Victoria
Schooling: Shepparton State School
Occupation: Sports store proprieter
Died: Killed in Action, Balikpapan, Balikpapan, Borneo, 4 July 1945, aged 31 years
Cemetery: Labuan War Cemetery
Labuan War Cemetery, Labuan, Malaysia
Memorials: Australian Commando Memorial, Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Cobram Hay Memorial Avenue Plaques
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World War 2 Service

24 Apr 1942: Enlisted Lance Corporal, SN VX79445
24 Apr 1942: Enlisted Australian Military Forces (Army WW2), Lance Corporal, SN VX79445
5 Jul 1945: Involvement Lance Corporal, SN VX79445, 2nd/5th Cavalry Commando Squadron, Borneo - Operation Oboe July - August 1945

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He was a gifted all round sportsman who combined his football career with his other sporting loves, particularly athletics, cycling and cricket. In 1934, at the age of 20 he played the Shepparton FC in a premiership and had a short stint with the Richmond Tigers reserves. Paul Bell started coaching Shepparton in 1935 and married in 1936. In 1937, at the age of 23, he accepted an invitation to travel down and play for the St. Kilda Saints, and made his debut in Round 11, 1937. Paul only played 15 games in 1937-1938 and kicked 26 goals during his short career with the Saints. As he had just married and owned a bicycle store in Shepparton and he did not like the travel to the city and he left VFL football when he moved to Cobram with his wife and opened a new store in 1939.

Paul also spent more time on athletics and won the then prestigious Shepparton Gift run over 130 yards in 1939, at the age of 25. His other great love was racing bicycles, and he patented a racing bike called the “Bell Supreme.”   

During his few married years in Cobram with his childhood sweetheart Rannie, Paul Bell ran his Sports Store and became the father to two small girls, Beverley and Judith. Paul enlisted in 1941 and was posted to the 2/5th Commando Squadron. They spent a great deal of time training in jungle fighting on the Atherton Tablelands in Queensland.

During the invasion of Balikpapan in Borneo, VX79445 Lance Corporal Paul Bell was killed in action on July 4, 1945 whilst he was a forward scout for his section when it was ambushed in jungle some 3 miles inland from where they had landed.